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Experts on Capitol Hill Thursday warned that an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack aimed at the nation’s electrical grid could leave the majority of Americans dead.
The hearing, “Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP): Threat to Critical Infrastructure,” before the House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies explored the effects an EMP would have. An overload of radio waves to electric systems, an EMP could result from a natural disaster, such as a solar storm, or a terrorist attack. Franks told the Free Beacon that Americans are unaware of the devastation that would occur if the country experienced a solar storm similar to the Carrington Event. Yes, government monopolies typically default to serving the needs of the bureaucracy rather than the citizen. No, government monopolies like the VA Hospitals and the Department of Motor Vehicles typically provide the best consumer experience. I don’t know, but I’m tired of hearing the President is “angry” about the scandal and then does nothing about it.
So what will happen if we are hit by a massive EMP blast?  Well, according to a government commission that investigated this issue, approximately two-thirds of the U.S.
Life after an EMP attack “would probably be something that you might imagine life to be like around the late 1800s but with several times the population we had in those days, and without the ability of the country to support and sustain all those people,” Graham says. If the earth is hit by a direct solar flare, some of which can be 14 times the size of the earth, scientists from NASA and the National Academy of Sciences say it would cost the nation alone up to $2 trillion in the first year.
The first 24 – 48 hours after such an occurrence will lead to confusion among the general population as traditional news acquisition sources like television, radio and cell phone networks will be non-functional.
Within a matter of days, once people realize the power might not be coming back on and grocery store shelves start emptying, the entire system will begin to delve into chaos. Within 30 days a mass die off will have begun as food supplies dwindle, looters and gangs turn to violent extremes, medicine can’t be restocked and water pump stations fail. Contrary to the findings of a 2008 commission mandated by Congress to consider a defense against an electromagnetic pulse attack and its effects on the national grid, a retired Air Force general who also headed the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency says that there isn’t a solution to an EMP attack.
At the National Council of State Legislatures last week in Atlanta, a number of lawmakers said they’re preparing legislation similar to a bill introduced in Maine recently did under the leadership of Rep. Efforts are under way to press the membership of the NCSL to address the EMP issue, since the federal government has failed to take action to mitigate the potential for a catastrophic event, whether natural or man-made.
Along with the national electrical grid, other critical infrastructures include telecommunications, banking and financial transactions, oil and natural gas pipelines, transportation, food and water delivery, emergency services and space systems. More than 10,000 people in Arkansas were dumped into a blackout Sunday following an attack on that state’s electric grid, the FBI said today, the third such attack in recent weeks. The FBI said that two power poles had been intentionally cut in Lonoke County on Sunday, resulting in the outage. In the early morning hours of September 29, 2013, officials with Entergy Arkansas reported a fire at its Keo substation located on Arkansas Highway 165 between Scott and England in Lonoke County. But minor attacks like that are nothing compared to what an EMP weapon could potentially do to our electrical grid.
And our strategic enemies have been working on developing such weapons.  The following is a short excerpt from a statement by Dr. Russian and Chinese military scientists in open source writings describe the basic principles of nuclear weapons designed specifically to generate an enhanced-EMP effect, that they term “Super-EMP” weapons. Pry pointed out that South Korean military intelligence has warned not only their government but also the U.S. In 2011, Pry pointed out, a military commentator with the People’s Republic of China stated that North Korea has super-EMP warheads. A pre-programmed cruise missile not too different from a drone has been proven to be capable of blasting out an EMP-type microwave that was able to destroy personal computers and electrical systems inside a building over which it was flying.

In addition, “radio frequency weapons” are so simple that terror groups or even “lone wolf crazies” could easily build them and use them.  The following is from an article by F.
Such an individual with a penchant for electronics can pull together components from a Radio Shack or electronic store – even order the components off of selected Internet websites – and fashion a radio frequency, or RF, weapon.
As microprocessors become smaller but more sophisticated, they are even more susceptible to an RF pulse.
This so-called burst of electromagnetic waves in the gigahertz microwave frequency band can melt electrical circuitry and damage integrated circuits, causing them to fail. Constructing a radio frequency weapon is not difficult at all.  In fact, you can find instructions for how to build them on the Internet. In the future, electromagnetic weapons are going to become even more powerful and even easier to use. Meanwhile, we are going to continue to become even more dependent on electricity and technology. And of course even if there is never a major EMP attack against the United States, scientists tell us that it is only a matter of time before a massive solar storm fries the electrical grid. EMP, Debunked: The Jolt That Could Fry The CloudAn electromagnetic pulse (EMP) from the sun or a high-altitude nuclear blast could change life as we know it, but how worried should you really be? The most common measure of EMP from geomagnetic storms is Dst, which stands for "Disturbance -- storm time," and is most commonly measured in nanotesla (nT) per minute. It matters, too, over how much area the Dst occurs; a very high Dst in a small area is a completely different matter from a low Dst in a wide area.
Computer crashes (possibly permanent damage), blown up power transformers, power outages in parts of city.
I work (part-time) for a small company that is a probably just a rust spot on the Iron Triangle of political cronyism eminating from Washington DC.
For the past several years the company I work for has been developing (with government funding) a practical photo-conductive semiconductor switch (PCSS) based on a device first discovered, developed and described in the 1990s open literature by Sandia National Laboratories (SNL). Perhaps fortunately, I doubt there are enough War Hawks left with enough political clout to move forward with realistic and verifiable EMP testing using high-altitude nuclear detonations. Your point about the time it takes to produce large transformers is correct in addition to your other comment that the capacity to build many is limited so if a lot were needed in a hurry then there would be long waiting lines (years long) with the possibility of building additional factory capacity which would also take a while.
As to lighteniing protection, which is invaluable, it appears to replicate much of the E-2 portion of the EMP pulse and does not protect against the E-1 part of the pulse which functions at nanosecond rates. I am not sure if you were aware of recent tests conducted by Idaho National Laboratory on a live portion of a power grid.
Just a few quick comments, again, in the interest of welcoming thoughtful homework and discussion. I am personally aware of several companies that plan to build in EMP protection at no extra cost to their customers since this is an area that most customers do not understand well in the first place. That also addresses another need we have as we address the vulnerability of our critical infrastructure and that is the vulnerability of our relationships and communities. Franks said “every single facet of modern human life” would be “crippled” by such an event.
3410, the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act, which would enable the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to implement practical steps to protect the electric grid. Peter Pry, a member of the Congressional EMP Commission and executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, who testified that an EMP event could wipe out 90 percent of America’s population. Named after British astronomer Richard Carrington, Carrington is the biggest solar storm on record, and took place in 1859. I’m also tired of hearing that he first heard about it on the news, and that eventually he calls everything a phony scandal.

Snyder is a graduate of the University of Florida law school and he worked as an attorney in the heart of Washington D.C.
In August, a major transmission line in the region, around Cabot, Ark., was deliberately cut.
Air Force and its contractor Boeing have created the High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project, or CHAMP, which was just tested over a Utah desert. The high power microwave from an RF weapon produces a short, very high power pulse, said to be billions of watts in a nanosecond, or billionths of a second. If you were doing a lab experiment and applied a Dst of one nT, taking a full minute to do it, a copper loop a meter in diameter would only produce a 60 billionth of a volt. Their PCSS holds off high voltages (up to megavolts), turns on very fast (sub-nanoseconds), stays on after optical triggering until current drops below a certain threshold (like an SCR), conducts high current (thousands of amperes) while turned on, and is inexpernsive to produce (a few hundred dollars each in production quantities). Also, there are probably some things best left undiscovered, like what will happen if the next CME hits the Earth dead-on. We review the pros and cons of both electronic and mechanical locks in our comprehensive Gun Safe Buyers Guide. But imagine if you could have the best of both worlds — keypad speed plus dial lock dependability.
It is currently available with new Armory Series, Cannon Series, and Commander Series Cannon-made safes. It allows the … ease and security of a Type 1 high security lock with the peace of mind of a mechanical override, all of this rolled into the ultimate UL Type 1 rating. Frankel, a senior scientist at Pennsylvania State University, said Franks’ bill is a “necessary first step” for the defense of the electric grid.
Investigation has determined that the fire, which consumed the control house at the substation, was intentionally set. The needle in your compass is deflected by around 40,000 nT; the magnetic catch on your medicine cabinet exerts millions of nT.
Unlike the SNL version, ours lasts for more than a few shots under the above conditions because we discovered how to produce a uniform current flow (instead of a "lightning-like" discharge) between the switch contacts. The technology is subject to export controls by the State Department, so only sales to U.S. We need properly instrumented testing using an EMP-producing device, preferably something that is gamma-enhanced like the orbiting x-ray lasers once proposed for a Star Wars defense against incoming ballistic missiles. Or a gamma-ray burster a few parsecs away happens to point one of its beams in our direction. Like you who appear to be more patriotic than mercenary, many of those who care deeply about work on this issue as volunteers. A digital keypad lock provides quick entry, while a quality, commercial-grade dial lock can deliver decades of reliable service, with no worries about dead batteries or worn-out keypads. Of course we would have to abrogate the nuclear test ban and several other treaties, and suffer the consequences of global condemnation and some fallout, but perhaps a half-dozen or so tests would be sufficient to verify the adequacy of our current ground-based EMP E1 simulators. Cannon is now offering a Dual-Access Combination Lock on its higher-end safes (Armory Series, Cannon Series, Commander Series). Cannon’s new EMP dual-access lock offers rapid access, simplicity and day-to-day security of an electronic lock backed up by the assurance of a manual (rotary dial) combination lock. You and other readers are welcome to join in on various efforts to mingle with others who are putting their lives on the line to work through these issues.

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